Site: Japan Satellite Systems Inc. (JSAT)
Toranomon 17 Mori Bldg. 5F
1-26-5 Toranomon, Minato-ku
Tokyo 105, Japan
Date Visited: June 2, 1997
WTEC: N. Helm (report author), K. Bhasin, R. DePaula, C. Mahle, S. Townes
The Japanese telecommunications industry deregulation that occurred in 1985 allowed formation of private companies such as Japan Satellite Systems. Two companies were formed that year: Japan Communications Satellite Company, Inc. and Satellite Japan Corporation. In 1993, these two companies joined to become Japan Satellite Systems Inc. (JSAT). Ownership of JSAT is held by four Japanese Corporations: ITOCHU Corp., Mitsui & Co. Ltd, Sumitomo Corp., and Nissho Iwai Corp., each with approximately 25%.
JSAT is providing satellite communications systems and services in Japan and the Asia-Pacific area. With four operational satellites and a fifth satellite that was due for launch in November 1997, JSAT provides wide area services to companies for video teleconferencing, data, fax and telephone audio, but does not supply multiplexed telephony. In addition, it supplies high quality television for broadcast and cable TV stations. JCSAT-1 and 2 provide services to Japan, but also have beam coverage over much of China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and even as far east as the state of Hawaii. JCSAT-3 covers the countries mentioned above and also covers much of Russia and India, and goes south as far as Australia and New Zealand.
JSAT joined with four additional corporate investors (Sony, Toyota, NEC and NTT) to form PerfecTV. PerfecTV provides digital multichannel TV via JCSAT-3 to small dishes in homes and businesses. In addition to subscriber TV channels, services include "pay per view," "video on demand," and high quality music channels. A future PerfecTV service is the broadcasting of data to personal computers and interactive bi-directional dialogues using telephone landlines from individual PC operators.
JSAT does not have a large research and development activity, but has worked closely with a vendor to produce a small (45 cm) antenna for remote satellite news gathering applications. It also has larger mobile stations for remote sports coverage and public interest events.
JSAT currently maintains, manages and operates two Hughes (HS 393) satellites, JCSAT-1, launched in 1989, and JCSAT-2, launched in 1990, located at 150 and 154 degrees east, respectively. These satellites have 32 Ku-band transponders for nominal NTSC television. In addition, JSAT has two Hughes (HS-601) satellites, JCSAT-3 and 4, that provide Ku and C-band services. JCSAT-3 began service in November 1995 and JCSAT-4 began service in April 1997. JCSAT-5 and 6 were under construction at the time of this visit and were scheduled for launch in late November 1997 and June 1998, respectively. Command, control and operations are maintained through its Yokohama Satellite Control Center and Gunma backup station.
The WTEC team had a delightful conversation with the president of JSAT, T. Yoshida. He talked about the large market potential for direct-to-home broadcasting to Southeast Asia, and how JSAT is working to find access rights to many of the countries in that region.
JSAT is a carrier for Internet providers, but does not currently operate a direct-to-PC service. In Japan, the current home use of computers is far smaller than the office use.
Asked about technologies that would be helpful, Mr. N. Suzuki replied that lower launch costs and cheaper satellites would be most helpful to an operational company like JSAT. Also, he mentioned that the development of low cost CDMA systems and equipment would diffuse the home use earth station terminals. Mr. Suzuki noted with pleasure that Japan does not use the auction process for frequency allocations.
JSAT is a successful satellite communications company providing largely video services to businesses and the broadcast industry. It has developed a good set of business and broadcast applications, such as equipment to provide satellite news gathering services. It is poised to expand its services to many countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.